Disease Proof

Heart Disease Starts Young, Too

From Dr. Fuhrman's book Disease Proof Your Child:

There is considerable evidence that the lipoprotein abnormalities (high LDL and low HDL) that are linked to heart attack deaths in adulthood begin to develop in early childhood and that higher cholesterol levels eventually get “set” by early food habits.1 What we eat during our childhood affects our lifetime cholesterol levels. For many, changing the diet to a plant-based, low-saturated-fat diet in later life does not result in the favorable cholesterol levels that would have been seen if the dietary improvements were started much earlier in life.

As a result of the heart-unfriendly diet, blood vessel damage begins early. Not only does the development of coronary atherosclerosis develop in childhood, but earlier development of atherosclerosis and higher serum cholesterol levels in childhood result in a significantly higher risk of premature sudden death relatively early in life. Sometimes the effects of childhood dietary abuses can be seen relatively early, with premature death or a heart attack at a young age.

When we study people who died young of coronary artery disease, we find that the highest risk of an earlier death occurs in those who were above average weight in childhood.2 Findings from the famous Bogalusa Heart Study show that a high saturated fat intake early in life is strongly predictive of later heart disease burden and the higher blood pressure in childhood and adolescence is powerfully predictive of cardiovascular death in adulthood.3

A low-fiber, high-saturated-fat diet with lots of animal products, dairy fat, white flour, and sugar creates a heart attack-prone person with high cholesterol levels. The anti-cancer lifestyle, a healthy diet style for the entire family, started early in life, will have the added benefit of making it easier for children to become heart attack-proof. A diet high in plant fiber shows a protective effect against developing high cholesterol, obesity, and elevated insulin levels. Eating more of the natural high-fiber plant food in childhood has a powerful protective effect on preventing later-life heart problems, even for those a strong family history of heart disease.4 For those whose family genetically predisposes them to heart disease, early-life dietary excellence can make the difference between a long life free of heart disease and a heart attack in one’s forties or fifties.

The new recommendations developed by the American Heart Association’s Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young acknowledge that heart disease starts early in life and that the eating habits and food preferences that are continued into adulthood are more difficult to change. They advise the entire family to limit salt and saturated fat. This is an important message for our society to understand. Heart disease may be preventable and reversible with nutritional excellence in adulthood, but in most cases, people do too little too late and suffer the tragic consequences—40 percent of the American population is stilly dying of heart disease.

Heart disease as a pediatric disease best treated by physicians with the ability to intercede during childhood is an issue that has been discussed by researchers in this field for almost twenty years. At a 1986 heart disease symposium, Roger Williams, M.D., the director of Cardiovascular Genetic Research and professor of medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine, explained that the best way to prevent heart disease in genetically prone patients is to intervene in childhood. He reported, when looking at those genetically predisposed to heart disease, that the only way to strongly protect against a sudden heart attack death at a comparatively young age is to intervene in their youth.5 He also said that telling patients and their families to “watch fat” is sufficient.

Scientific literature has continued to strongly support the view that coronary artery disease leading to heart attacks is an avoidable event, even for those with a strong family history. It is the high nutritional quality of the diet, with more fruits, vegetables, beans, and healthy fats from raw nuts and seeds that offers the type of protection that is really effective.
1. Vikari JS, Raitakari OT, Simell O. Nutritional influences on lipids and future atherosclerosis beginning prenatally and during childhood. Curr Opin Lipidol 2002;13(1):11-18.

2. Eriksson JG, Forsen T, Tuomilehto J, et al. Catch-up growth in childhood and death from coronary heart disease: longitudinal study. BMJ 1999;318(7181):427-431.

3. Berenson GS, Srinivasan SR, Nicklas TA. Atherosclerosis: a nutritional disease of childhood. Bogalusa Heart Study. AM J Cardiol 1998;82(10B):22T-29T. Berenson GS. Childhood risk factors predict adult risk associated with subclinical cardiovascular disease. The Bolgulusa Heart Study. Am J Cardiol 2002;90(10C):3L-7L. Vos LE, Orien A, Uiterwaal C, et al. Adolescent blood pressure and blood pressure tracking into young adulthood are related to subclinical atherosclerosis: the atherosclerosis risk in young adults (ARYA) study. Am J Hypertens 2003 16(7):549-555.

4. Ludwig DS, Pereira MA, Kroenke CH, et al. Dietary fiber, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease risk factors in young adults. JAMA 1999;282(16):15-39-1546.

5. My notes from his lecture at symposium sponsored by Intermountain Pediatric Society 1986.
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avinash - May 10, 2011 12:37 AM

hi sir/mam i am 19 years old and ihavegot acidity 1st than heart problem and than kidney problem i m suffering lot from this problem please give me some solution i m totaly scared please give me some solution with out any operation if possible thank you

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